May 27, 2024
A real estate agent can represent both a buyer and a seller in 42

The Dual Agency Dilemma

When it comes to buying or selling a home, many people rely on the expertise and guidance of a real estate agent. But what happens when an agent is asked to represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction? This is known as dual agency, and it can present a unique set of challenges and potential conflicts of interest.

What is Dual Agency?

Dual agency occurs when a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. In this scenario, the agent has a fiduciary duty to both parties and is responsible for acting in their best interests. However, this can be a difficult task as the interests of the buyer and seller may not always align.

Conflicts of Interest

One of the main concerns with dual agency is the potential for conflicts of interest. For example, the seller may want to sell their property for the highest possible price, while the buyer may want to negotiate a lower price. In these situations, the agent must navigate these conflicting interests and find a solution that satisfies both parties.

Additionally, there may be instances where the agent has access to information that could benefit one party over the other. For example, if the agent is representing both the buyer and seller and knows that the seller is willing to accept a lower offer, they may have an obligation to share this information with the buyer. However, doing so could potentially harm the seller’s negotiating position.

Transparency and Disclosure

To mitigate conflicts of interest, real estate agents are required to be transparent and disclose their dual agency status to all parties involved. This allows buyers and sellers to make informed decisions and understand the potential implications of working with a dual agent.

It’s important for both buyers and sellers to carefully consider the pros and cons of working with a dual agent. While it may seem convenient to have one agent handle both sides of the transaction, there are inherent risks involved.

Alternatives to Dual Agency

For those who are uncomfortable with the idea of dual agency, there are alternatives to consider. One option is to work with separate agents, each representing the buyer and seller respectively. This ensures that each party has an advocate who is solely focused on their best interests.

Another option is to work with a designated agency, where different agents within the same brokerage handle the buyer and seller sides of the transaction. This allows for collaboration and communication between the agents while still maintaining separate representation for each party.


In summary, dual agency can be a complex and potentially risky situation in real estate transactions. It’s important for both buyers and sellers to carefully consider their options and weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks. While dual agency may offer convenience, it also raises concerns about conflicts of interest and transparency. Exploring alternative options, such as separate representation or designated agency, can help ensure that the interests of all parties involved are protected.